Abandon the Social Issues

A lot of Republicans, reeling from Tuesday’s smash-up, are suggesting just that: give up on abortion or gay marriage, focus on economics and jobs. There’s some evidence to support this strategy, but there’s also a lot that contradicts it.

A friend of mine, a Hollywood writer who wishes to remain anonymous, is a deeply conservative — and deeply depressed — Roman Catholic who lives in Los Angeles, is a hugely successful writer and producer (translation: he’s got a lot of Emmys) put it this way in an email exchange we had this morning, in which both of us tackled the “social issue” issue:

I have no great love of social issues. I would prefer to avoid them altogether. My fear is that’s less possible now that social issues are increasingly becoming public policy. It’s no longer okay to personally feel someway and avoid it in public debates because we pay for everything. A desire to not pay for something equals opposition.

That seems like an interesting fault-line, and one that our side has had trouble articulating clearly. It seems like even folks who are pro-abortion rights would agree that parental consent laws are necessary, and that no one should be forced to pay for a procedure they believe is infanticide. I mean, right? That should be an easy one for the American voter.

Or does Tuesday tell us the opposite?